Infrastructure > Cloud

NHS lays out G-Cloud timetable for e-mail services

Charlotte Jee Published 22 November 2012

Supplier selection process likely to start in March 2013

The next six months will see the NHS Commissioning Board pressing ahead with its plans to appoint NHS mail 2 suppliers.

The NHSmail 2 team is understood to want to start the supplier selection process in March 2013, with appointments to be made around June, and the service going live in September.

The NHS hopes that signing a new e-mail contract with multiple providers will allow it to improve competition, thereby resulting in cost savings and sidestepping being tied into long-term contracts, according to an NHSmail representative.

However, such a deal would still be worth millions of pounds, and generate significant sums for the G-Cloud programme, which has seen £2.9m in total sales since it was launched in February 2012.

The project, which is sponsored by the NHS Commissioning Board, aims to 'define and procure a set of secure email and collaboration services for the health and care sector', according to an NHSmail 2 project overview document.

The document says that these services will provide a replacement service for the existing NHSmail service (@nhs.net addresses) together with successor service options for health and care organisations currently operating their own local systems.

In 2004, NHS Connecting for Health signed a £207m with Cable & Wireless to provide NHSmail for 10 years. The e-mail system, which runs through Microsoft Exchange 2007, is currently used by around half a million users. When it expires in 2014, the NHS plans to split e-mail provision between multiple secure providers.

According to the project overview, the NHSmail 2 team plans to follow the timetable below:

  • December 2012: Finalise and publish requirements; Initiate G-Cloud III procurement to extend framework of available solution suppliers able to meet the requirements,
  • January 2013: Supplier responses to G-Cloud submitted,
  • March 2013 G-Cloud III updated catalogue published; Initiate NHSmail 2 selection from G-Cloud III framework,
  • June 2013: Appoint NHSmail 2 suppliers,
  • September 2013: NHSmail 2 service live; NHSmail 2 service advertised to local organisations; Local organisations begin migration to NHSmail 2,
  • June 2014: Transition to the NHSmail 2service completed.

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